Viola Davis dishes on Oscar nomination and 'The Help' controversy - See video
Viola Davis woke up on January 24 to find out she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her role in "The Help."
The nomination is the actress' second. She was nominated in 2008 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in "Doubt." Check out the full list of 2012 Oscar nominations here.
"It's better than I could possibly imagine because to me it means ... it seems like a natural trajectory. That's what it feels like," Davis told George Pennacchio of KABC Television, OnTheRedCarpet.com's parent company on Tuesday about her nomination. "You can't imagine it as an actor. You hope for it."
She added. "I've spent so much time in an unemployment line, so many times being paid $250 a week to do a play and being happy with it, that literally you start to have goals that are like, 'Ok, if I get $600 a week I'll be happy. If I get $1000 a week, Oh my gosh that would be so wonderful.'"
"So you never imagine that it's going to get to this place," Davis said. "You can't because it very rarely happens. It's a business about deprivation. So I feel completely blessed. Blessed, blessed, blessed."
In "The Help," Emma Stone plays Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, an aspiring writer and college graduate who was partially raised by a black maid in 1960s. She decides to write a book from the perspective of the domestic workers in the area with the help of Aibileen (Davis), Minnie (Octavia Spencer) and their peers.
"The Help" is based on a 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett. Spencer and co-star Jessica Chastian also received Oscar nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for their work in the film.
The movie faced some criticism over the fact that the women of color in the film play roles as domestic workers. However, Davis said the role was important to her and she is happy to get recognized for it.
"I always say because it's the story of my grandmother and my mother," Davis said. "So you have a whole generation of people out there who didn't have realized dreams because they weren't allowed to, to a huge extent, and so they put all their effort into the next generation so that we could carry the baton on to some place further and deeper and bigger."
"And I know me and Octavia [Spencer] feel like a high sense of purpose because we're under represented, even as women of color. So it automatically comes whenever you get accolades and you're underrepresented, you feel like you have a higher sense of responsibility. It automatically just comes to you," Davis added. "So that's why we feel like this has been a great achievement. We've definitely been called on it but a number of people in African American community."
"We had to have conviction in terms of our choice in taking these roles," Davis said. "I'm so glad it landed. It really did. It really resonated with people, black and white. It landed."
The 84th annual Academy Awards are set to air live on ABC on Feb. 26, 2012. Check out a trailer for "The Help" below.Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com that also produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).